You may be shocked to know that we sort through an extremely high percentage of candidates who have actually submitted fake resumes. I could bore you with statistics but instead will simply state that in an industry which focuses on patient safety (and therefore doing the right thing is critically important), we have identified over seven thousand “Fake” CRAs in North America so far.

I am speaking about completely fraudulent…outright fake resumes. In real life these individuals work in call centers, as software analysts or within the IT industry; however their resumes falsely indicate they have several years’ experience in Clinical Research.

So how do you identify these fake candidates?

We have identified a few trends to keep in mind when identifying fake resumes. Some of these trends are easy to identify; however, others are more difficult to spot and I am sure that for each preventative step we take, these fake candidates are taking steps to counter them.

Some may challenge that the interview should identify these individuals are clueless.  My challenge though – why waste your time interviewing fake candidates? Aren’t there things you can do to identify fake resumes early in the recruitment cycle?

The simple answer is yes; often the resume or early correspondence with the job seeker will reveal that something fishy is going on.

  • The candidate has asked for a below market rate or salary.
  • The resume contains lots of self-employment or consulting with no clients listed. After all, anyone can have an active LLC or Corporation…but that doesn’t mean they have active clients.
  • There are no gaps in employment. As a Hiring Manager, you always want to be on the lookout for gaps in employment because you want an explanation for those gaps; however, it is just as much of a flag to see a resume with zero employment gapsespecially if they are representing themselves as a consultant. Did they really always have another job to go to…even when the company shut down, they were laid off, had a consulting gig that ended, etc?
  • The companies listed on the resume may not be real! Don’t assume that because there is a website, the company is real. If you have not heard of the company before, check State Registrars (Manta, Secretary of State, etc.) to confirm the company is or was a real company. We have a long list of “fake” companies consistently used by candidates pretending to have CRA experience – and 90% of them have websites.
  • Be on the lookout for resumes with several years of offshore experience. It is extremely difficult to verify the employment of positions in other countries.
  • We have seen a strong trend where candidates have listed MULTIPLE companies on their resume which did exist but have been acquired or gone out of businesseither they have terrible luck in selecting employment or there is something fishy about their credentials. Digging deeper to verify the individual really worked at these companies can be complicated as well as quite time consuming, so if you need a checklist or some assistance with this, let us know and we will be glad to help.
  • The individual has no digital foot print. In our industry, it is extremely unusual to have no LinkedIn profile or social media footprint (especially as a consultant), so this should send up a flag right away.
  • Check the “old fashioned way” by calling the company directly and conducting an employment verification (this doesn’t work for consultants). Although company policies differ on this topic, legally anyone can conduct an employment verification without infringing on the job seeker’s rights. Questions legally allowed to ask during an employment verification include: Dates of Employment, Title when Employed, Salary when Employed, Reason for Termination, and Eligibility for Rehire.

As you review the resume with the above checklist in hand, remember that you are looking for trends as there is rarely a “black/white” factor to consider. For example, we have zero tolerance for someone who lists a fake company on his resume, while other flags like lack of digital footprint and no gaps in employment will not stop us from progressing a candidate through our qualification process -we simply dig deeper while interviewing (I cover how to do this later).

The key is to know what to look for and when the candidate checks several of these boxes, the fishy smell may really mean you should steer clear.

The next article will discuss other areas to consider prior to wasting your time with the interview – starting with how CRAs can fake their education. Let us know if you have questions – we are here to help!

Investing in a Lifetime of Success,

Angela Roberts


Feeling Concerned and Overwhelmed?

The recruitment of High Quality CRAs is our specialty; therefore, we are equipped to quickly and effectively identify this type of fraudulence. We handle scenarios like these daily so let us know what we can do to help you, as we understand the CRAs you select will have a major impact to the success or failure of your studies.